Books·Canadian

Buffy Sainte-Marie

A powerful, intimate look at the life and music of beloved folk icon and activist Buffy Sainte- Marie.

Andrea Warner

Folk hero. Songwriter icon. Living legend. Buffy Sainte-Marie is all of these things and more. In this, Sainte-Marie's first and only authorized biography, music critic Andrea Warner draws from more than 60 hours of exclusive interviews to offer a powerful, intimate look at the life of the beloved artist and everything that she has accomplished in her 77 years (and counting).

Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964's It's My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate for Indigenous rights and freedoms, an innovative artist and a disruptor of the status quo. Establishing herself among the ranks of folk greats such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, she has released more than 20 albums, survived being blacklisted by two U.S. presidents and received countless accolades, including the only Academy Award ever to be won by a First Nations artist. But this biography does more than celebrate Sainte-Marie's unparalleled talent as a songwriter and entertainer; packed with insight and knowledge, it offers an unflinchingly honest, heartbreakingly real portrait of the woman herself, including the challenges she experienced on the periphery of showbiz, her healing from the trauma of childhood and intimate partner violence, her commitment to activism and her leadership in the protest movement. (From Greystone Books Ltd.)

Why Andrea Warner wrote Buffy Sainte-Marie's biography

"In my research about her life for my interview, I was struck by the fact there wasn't a lot of information about Buffy Sainte-Marie out there compared to artists that I would consider her peers. There are like 70 books on Bob Dylan and one on Buffy Sainte-Marie, previous to mine. That was unjust and ridiculous.

We both wanted to make the best and most honest book that we could from our time together.- Andrea Warner

"I wanted to create as much trust and space for respecting her story as much as humanly possible. It was important that the interview process never felt exploitative. It was about laying that foundation of creating a safe space and a friendly space, where both of us know we're operating on similar levels.

"This is a pretty honest forthright book. It felt like I could tell her anything straight up and she would do the same. We both wanted to make the best and most honest book that we could from our time together."

Read more in her interview with CBC Books.

Interviews with Andrea Warner

Andrea Warner says Buffy Sainte-Marie has remained true to herself for half a century, as a musician and a defender of Indigenous people. 9:25
Buffy Sainte-Marie and her official biographer Andrea Warner talk about collaborating on the Canadian folk icon's only authorized biography. 23:18
Buffy Sainte-Marie discusses her songwriting style in this 1994 interview with Adrienne Clarkson. 0:53

More about Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie offers candid advice for young musicians. 1:00

 

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